The Mobile Enterprise: From Isolated LAN to Always-On Mobile WAN
by Jim Metzler, Ashton, Metzler & Associates




This document discusses the evolution of wireless networks in general and of business critical, delay sensitive applications in particular. Relative to that evolution, this document establishes a number of principles. Those principles are: 


  1. People around the globe are mobile, and they want all of their communications to support that mobility. 

  2. There is currently a strong need for speed. This need will only accelerate as content becomes increasingly rich. 

  3. Today’s mobile networks are designed for voice and low speed data 

  4. Many business critical applications require an ever- increasing amount of bandwidth that has precluded their being widely deployed in a mobile environment to date. 

  5. The high technology marketplace tends to coalesce on a small number of tested technologies, such as IP. In order to be successful, new network technologies must work seamlessly with these key technologies. 

  6. Complex technologies with a short life cycle tend to have very limited deployment 

  7. The majority of enterprises require QoS in their wide area networks, whether they are traditional wired networks, or an emerging 3G or 4G mobile network. This requirement will grow over time as businesses continue to deploy delay sensitive, business critical applications. 

  8. The success of wireless networks will increasingly depend on implementing both IP and QoS at the customer’s first connection point. 

  9. The ability to support higher mobile data rates will require a packet-switched technology with support for end-to-end IP. In order to be successful in the marketplace, these packet-switched solutions need to run over technologies that do not require any changes to IP. 

  10. The requirements of mobile professionals require that a number of technologies be deployed. Some of these technologies are focused on enabling connectivity within a building or a campus, while others are focused on enabling connectivity either within or between campus locations. 


In order to be successful in these challenging times, mobile operators must deploy services that reflect the preceding principals. In particular, mobile operators need to deploy a new class of high-speed services that allow enterprise customers ubiquitous access to all applications and services (i.e., SAP R/3) and not just SMS, email, and stock quotes. 


In order to be widely adopted, these new services must provide support that is both seamless and universal for key enterprise requirements such as IP and QoS. And, in order to control their costs, mobile operators must make some key technology choices. These technology choices must be made in a way to ensure that mobile operators minimize their deployment of interim technologies, and focus on deploying technologies that maximize the amount of bandwidth that can be derived from a given amount of spectrum.


About the Author:


Dr. Jim Metzler of Ashton, Metzler & Associates is widely recognized as an authority on both network technology and its business applications. Over the past 28 years, he has helped over one hundred enterprises evolve their network infrastructures. Metzler has worked in software tool development, network design, engineering management for high-speed data services, and network hardware product management. He conducts tutorials on local area networking, wide area networking, and e-business around the world. And he is on the faculty at Northeastern University’s State of the Art Program in Networking. 



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